Ironically, I was planning on writing a post about how well everything was going before this happened.
A close friend of mine passed away very recently. I made a post a long time ago when my grandmother passed away, and I wrote about how I couldn’t cry anymore. How it felt wrong to be okay. But this time it was nothing like that.
She was a part of a very small group of friends I’d met in middle school. There’s just the four of us. I guess its just the three of us now. Maybe that’s why it was so devastating. I’ve never been good at keeping a lot of friends. I keep a few close ones and they become very important to me. And after dumping my best friend this summer, I only had two to fall back on. But they were both grieving in their own way.
We were all busy with school, and family, and life in general. She had died two days before my grandparents were coming to visit. I had one good cry on my mom’s shoulder and then packed up all my emotions until the next weekend. My parents were too busy to talk to about it again. My sister was too awkward about it and I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable. Nobody knows how to deal with these things. And it felt like everyone was saying the wrong thing to me. I thought it was best to keep it to myself.
I had a busy week ahead of me, but it wasn’t a very good distraction. I felt guilty that I hadn’t taken enough time to mourn her properly. I went right back to school. I went right back to work. I didn’t tell anyone how heavy my heart felt. I felt bad going to parties and weddings and acting like nothing was wrong. I felt bad for trying to have fun. But for over a week I couldn’t stop thinking about her. The thought of having to go to her memorial service was looming over me all week, and I could feel the nerves building up in my chest.
My other two friends couldn’t make it, so I went alone. I broke down as soon as I got there. Nobody else was crying yet, and I felt bad for feeling so bad. Her boyfriend wasn’t crying when I met him, in fact he was smiling and joking around with everyone else, but I could hardly say my condolences between sobs. It felt awkward. I felt like I wasn’t close enough to her to warrant so much crying. It didn’t stop me, though. I was able to hold it together during the service, but as soon as her mother’s arms were around me I let out everything I had. I think that’s the one place where it felt okay to cry and it wasn’t awkward. I let go a little early because I thought I’d overstepped my boundaries but her mom held me closer. She told me how much her daughter loved her friends. She said “You’re all still young, be good to each other.”
It was just as painful and uncomfortable as I expected it to be, but I walked out of the church feeling so much lighter. And I realized I had held in my pain for too long. When my grandmother passed away I had my entire family to grieve with me. I had people who understood me, who wanted to talk about her and remember her just as much as I did. It was easier like that. Not that grieving is easy, but there was that feeling that I wasn’t alone. I didn’t have that this time. That’s why I couldn’t help myself when I got to the church. That’s why it hurt so bad.
Moral of the story: I know you might feel like its selfish of you to share your pain and your burdens with others, but you’re doing yourself a disservice to keep it inside. Sometimes problems don’t solve themselves, and sometimes you can’t always wait it out until you feel better.